Captain Barnes

Many-time national shotgun champ relishes opportunity to lead CAC Games delegation

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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When you hear the word team, there has to be someone who will lead them.

Not a coach, but someone among the athletes who demonstrates excellent leadership skills both in and out of competition.

In the eyes of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Shaun Barnes is one who has displayed that trait.

Due to the size of the Jamaican contingent there will be four team captains, two males and two females. Along with Barnes, the others are squash stand-out Chris Binnie, who will captain the males, while veteran, swimmer Alia Atkinson and track athlete Sherone Simpson will captain the females.

Though he will be the country's lone representative in shooting at the games, Barnes is ready to play his part on a larger team which comprises athletes from various disciplines to include but not limited to athletics, badminton, football, gymnastics, rugby sevens and swimming.

He welcomes the opportunity and responsibility to be an organiser, one who enforces positive thinking, and also to compliment and show respect to the other athletes — all attributes of a good team leader.

“It is a great responsibility, but also an honour to be selected as team captain. It is a major step for me and it shows that the JOA has placed a lot of recognition on other sports by giving me an opportunity to represent in shooting and being the captain of the overall delegation,” Barnes told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the declaration yesterday.

“I have experienced a lot over the years with shooting and that has given me a breath of appreciation for sports in general, so being captain of the CAC delegation will also give me an opportunity to expose myself to other sports.

“It will also allow me the opportunity to build relationships with the other athletes. So I am looking forward to it and I am hoping to learn a lot from this experience, and also be able to encourage and support the other athletes in their respective disciplines,” he added.

Barnes, who has been one of the flag bearers of shooting in Jamaica over the years, is no stranger to international competition, having represented Jamaica on various platforms such as the Commonwealth Games.

He will be competing in the Olympic trap shoot, which is expected to prove tough as Jamaica bears very little experience in that regard, but Barnes is ready to give his optimum.

“I consider it (being one of Jamaica's flag bearers in shooting) a blessing because it is an opportunity for me to expose our sport to not only the Jamaicans who are not aware of it, but also to say to the world that Jamaica does have the potential to compete on the world stage in whatever discipline.

“Each time I get to compete overseas, I always consider it a great opportunity to not only better myself as a shooter, but also to show off brand Jamaica on the international platform,” Barnes reasoned.

“So this (CAC Games) is more like another outing to gain some experience (in Olympic Trap) and learn from the other international competitors so I can share the information with my fellow shooters when I get back home. Hopefully that will help us to build on what we already know and make a mark in the near future at other major games,” he noted.

The 38-year-old, who won the national titles in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, pointed out that sporting clays has somewhat aided in his preparation for the upcoming task.

However, unlike sporting clays, which allows shooters the opportunity to view the targets, Olympic Trap comprises three underground machines in front of each shooter, and the distance to the targets and the speed with which they are thrown are both greater.

This means that the reflexes, accuracy and mental fortitude of the shooters will be rigorously tested.

“I haven't been getting much practice in Olympic Trap, so currently they are trying to do some repairs to a machine which will assist me in getting in some practice, hopefully starting tomorrow (today) into the weekend, before I depart.

“What I am happy about is the fact that I have been preparing myself mentally over the past weeks, so I am very composed right now. I just need to improve in preparation; if the machine is sorted I will be getting about five days of practice and I am hoping to make the best of it so that I can give of my best when I get to the games,” Barnes shared.

Another positive for Barnes heading into the CAC Games will be the presence of his brother Marc, who will be accompanying him as manager/coach.

“The last time I travelled I didn't have a manager, but this time they have afforded me the opportunity to carry one and I will be taking Marc.

“I am very happy about that because he has been the person over my shoulder for all the national championships that I have won, and I am feeling quite relaxed and trusting his capabilities,” he explained.

“So, as of tomorrow (today), he will be helping me with training, trying to figure out things that we need to implement and different strategies to attack the targets. Because, like I said, we don't have the experience of Olympic Trap as much as we do in Sporting Clays and other disciplines,” Barnes ended.

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